Treasures of Bolinao

Bolinao is well-known for its pristine beaches, fresh seafood, enchanting caves, and its lighthouse. It may not seem popular for people who aren’t from the Philippines , so it would be a good idea to experience its perfect beauty before it gets crowded and trampled on! Knock on wood on the trampling! One of the best places to visit is the Cape Bolinao Lighthouse which is located at Patar, Bolinao. It rises 351 feet above sea level in the top of Punta Piedra Point, a towering hill of solid rock which is the sharp point of Cape Bolinao itself. It was constructed by the American, British, and Filipino engineers in 1903 on a 351 feet high point at the western area of Cape Bolinao. The lighthouse still sends signals to vessels passing by the area. This is a recommended place to catch the sunset. Enchanted cave – the place completely..read more..

Of Great Heights and Amazing Views: Baler’s Paradise

If you are looking for the best place to retire here in the tropical islands of the Philippines, then Baler, Aurora may be the perfect place for you! This small town has been featured in numerous shows and publications as well as visited by a lot of notable personalities both from here and abroad. Baler is known for being the last stronghold of the remaining Spanish forces in the country during the Philippine Revolution and Spanish-American War. The Spaniards took shelter at the Baler Catholic Church as its last show of resistance but eventually surrendered, finally ending the 300 dark years of Spanish rule in the country.Aside from this historical siege, Baler also prides itself for its one of a kind geographic formations, breathtaking views, rich culture and tradition, as well as its very hospitable locals.Retiring in the Philippines, especially in the simple town of Baler, will undeniably give you..read more..

The Filipino Culture: Love for Food and Family

For the last few years, the Philippines has often been highlighted as a must-go-to destination for a perfect tropical paradise vacation. With its 7,107 islands (and counting), there are a lot of different islands to visit that are just the epitome of the perfect beach holiday. With the natural, geographical barriers of the country (the separation of islands), you’ll experience a variety of different cultures, no matter which part of the country you decide to visit. And with these different cultures and traditions, specific characteristics of the Filipino people stand out – characteristics that makes anyone who has visited or lived in the country fall in love with it in an instant. There are so many different aspects of the culture in the Philippines that can just steal your heart in a beat. First of all, a culture that revolves traditions and morals around the love for food is a..read more..

The Secret of Ganduyan: The Pride of Mountain Province

Ask anyone from the Philippines or anyone who has travelled around this country, and I can guarantee that only the rare and observant individuals know of the beautiful town of Ganduyan. Before you even try to search it on Google, there really isn’t any information that is easily attainable on Wikipedia. Ganduyan is a municipality discovered only by those who visit it and have the curiosity to ask how it has become what it is now. Let’s just say, it is a town that’ll make you wish of retiring in the Philippines! Here’s my first hint. Ganduyan is the beautiful town known as the pride of Mountain Province.It is the most culturally preserved town in the Cordillera region of Luzon. The locals have not only preserved their traditions that date back hundreds of years, but according to the Ganduyan Museum, the elders of Ganduyan were part of the only tribe..read more..

Life in the Philippines from a Young Expat

In my short time in the Philippines, I have experienced quite a bit. I have lived here for just 6 months but I have been blessed to see many different parts of the country. I have seen some amazing places both in the city where I live and in my travels. And now I have a better understanding of the phrase “low cost retirement in the Philippines.” I live in Baguio City which is known as the summer capital of the Philippines. I have traveled up and down the West Coast of this country and have yet to explore the East Coast of the Philippine islands. Although I am making my first trek to Puerto Princesa next month, I will take some time to tell you about my travels along the West Coast. Baguio City I am told that those who live in Manila come to Baguio to get away..read more..

When in the Summer Capital of the Philippines – Baguio City!

I have been living in Baguio City for years, but I have to admit that I never really explored the city. Every time a friend shows up and asks, “So, where should we go?” I would give a blank stare and say, “I don’t know…SM?” – a supermall with branches all over the country. Then, we would discuss on where to go, until yup, we end up in SM. If you ask me about places I have been to in the city? Here are a few – Burnham Park (who would miss the park at the center of Baguio?), Wright Park, Mines View Park, Camp John Hay, Philippine Military Academy, The Mansion, The Diplomat Hotel, and most of the MAIN tourist attractions in the area. Aside from the low cost retirement, Philippine’s Baguio doesn’t disappoint when it comes to tourist attractions. But when I said “explored the city,” I was..read more..

Mt. Pulag: It’s more than just a Sea of Clouds

When Mt. Pulag enters the conversation, people immediately associate it to a “Sea of Clouds.” Well, not for me (or at least not yet). The thing is, I’ve been to Mt. Pulag twice but have not seen that infamous “sea.” A friend of mine had no luck three times! And, I am quite sure that several other people have not had the best of days more than thrice. Please, do not feel sorry for us, because if you have not been to Mt. Pulag, we should feel sorry for you. Before we proceed, I would like you to know that I am not an expert mountaineer nor do I have a lot of mountain climbing experience. So, do not take this as expert advice, because I don’t want anyone ending up in a ditch. I am just sharing my own experience in the hope of giving you inspiration to pursue..read more..

Journey to and in the Philippines by Morson

-A Diving Adventure- By Christopher Morson Christopher Morson recently visited the Philippines on a reconnaissance trip, with an eye toward retirement here. An avid diver, he took the opportunity to indulge his passion on board the M/Y Vasco through Cebu in the Visayas to Tubattaha Reef. He has kindly allowed us to share his impressions, both of the diving and of the Philippines… A delayed flight meant missing the connection to Manila, so I arrived about seven hours late at Moalboal Blue Orchid Resort in Cebu. Not bad, very mellow resort owned by an English expat and former taikwondo (I think) world champion who now lives mostly in Japan. We dived the Cathedral and the sardine run, millions of these fish in a concert of movement, and one beautiful wall full of soft corals. We went from there onto Malapascua Island where we saw the Thresher sharks (go to YouTube..read more..

St. Luke’s Medical Center: Internationally acclaimed Health Care Facility

St. Luke’s Medical Center: Internationally Acclaimed Philippine Healthcare Facility Just recently (April 2015), a website whose mission is to provide high-quality information to help people make the best decision about nursing education has ranked St. Luke’s Medical Center (SLMC) – Global City as number four among its list of 25 Most Amazing Modern Hospitals in the World. This is not the first international recognition that SLMC has received. Back in 2012, it was also named as one of the most beautiful hospitals in the world by HealthExecNews.com, a “health care information network and daily publication focusing on trends facing executives working in the health care industry.” In the list, this hospital was ranked 11th place. And yet another one in 2014 when the Diplomatic Council cited St. Luke’s Medical Center – both Global City and Quezon City branches – as two of the “20 Best Hospitals Worldwide.” There is no..read more..

Philippine Expressways: Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX)

TPLEX The Philippines has a network of expressways, mostly found in Luzon, providing a smoother and faster travel time for motorists. The first expressway systems in the country built in the 1970s were the Northern Luzon Expressway (formerly North Diversion Road) and South Luzon Expressway (SLEx, formerly South Super Highway). In 1999, the first Elevated Toll Road in the Philippines called Metro Manila Skyway was completed, while the first Electronic toll Collection was introduced in the SLEx and Skyway Systems in 2001. Highways are very essential structures that not only greatly improve the transportation system, but also a country’s economy. With the increasing number of automobiles, the need for more highways or expressways becomes even more apparent which is why another expressway is currently on the works and is expected to be completed as early as this year, 2015, or early of next year 2016, three years earlier than the..read more..

Coolest Cities and Towns in the Philippines

The Philippines is framed by the equator and the Tropic of Cancer, making it a generally hot and humid country. However, there are certain places that locals and even tourists visit during summer – aside from the breathtaking beaches! – to escape the heat of the sun. These are the “cool towns” that are an ultimate paradox to the country’s tropical climate! Baguio For 99 years, the city has been celebrated as the Summer Capital of the Philippines. It was once the playground of the Americans who built the city in the 1900’s for a sanatorium for heat-oppressed soldiers, which later was transformed into their vacation spot. At 5,200 feet above sea level, the city enjoys low temperatures – the coldest morning on record was at 6.2 degree Celsius in January of 1961. Sagada This is a municipality in Mountain Province which is not only famous for its hanging coffins..read more..

Unique Spots in Cebu You Probably Did Not Know About

If you think you know everything about Cebu, think again. Yes, most of us probably heard of the place to be one of the most developed and promising island provinces in the Philippines, what with it being the center of trade, commerce, education and industry in the Visayan area. Even more so because of the several wonders it has to offer to both the locals and the tourists. But can you honestly say you have totally explored the place? If you want to visit one of the country’s most iconic heritage spots, Cebu is the place to visit. It is the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines, and it has the oldest city in the country as its capital – Cebu City. It is also called the Queen City of the South, and rightly named so. The province is one of the favorite destinations of those seeking to explore and..read more..

THE NEW DAY PHILIPPINES AND JUST HOW FAR IT HAS COME, AND THE SAD STORY OF SONY PHILIPPINES

I have a relationship with this wonderful country for 34 years now, in which I have lived full time here over 25 years and part time the balance. And WOW, competition changed everything as far as amenities and customer service is concerned (although still heavily dominated by the elite families) but not entirely, as the richest man in the Philippines, Henry Sy came from nothing (owner of SM Prime Holdings and malls), as well as Manny Pangilinan (PLDT), and John Gokongwei Jr. as who is a major owner of malls in the country. With smart phones, laptops, and tablets, there are so many choices. The competition is fierce, although not quite yet like the 1st world, but major changes brought on by this competition. Philippines, in the old days, when you drop your Coke at McDonald’s? Too bad. If you take something home from a department store and decide you don’t like it? Too bad. But TODAY, many companies and stores..read more..

GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY

I enjoy working in my local community to give back as is my physical makeup thanks to my father who is a legacy in this arena. This article is purely to acknowledge some fine folks and a successful company, or should I say corporation which is  SM Prime Holdings  which primary success has come in their large number of modern Malls here in the Philippines. First, I would like to thank Marc, the operational GM at the Baguio SM mall for helping to get the corporate office to renovate our city children’s park here in Baguio City. Marc is now working with an associate of mine who has a foundation here to help the deaf population. With a little luck SM will donate some greatly needed computers and I-pads in the very near future. Also a thanks to David the store manager of SM appliances also here in Baguio for..read more..

Religion in the Philippines Joining One Church…or Another!

If you come to the Philippines and are of the Christian religion, you’re in luck. There is every sect of Christianity here with the predominant religion being Roman Catholic to the tune of approximately 80%. There is every conceivable church from the Baptist church, Evangelistic churches, Latter Day Saints, Protestants, and the Seventh Day Adventists. There are two major Philippine-born religions in Christianity which are the Iglesia ni Cristo and El Shaddai. The Roman Catholic church is everywhere and it is not uncommon to see dozens of these churches even in small provincial areas. In the major cities, some of these churches are spectacular. To join the Catholic church here is not necessary, just attend a Mass or go into the church and there will always be people around to attend to you. Mass schedules are usually posted somewhere in the church. Sunday Masses in many of the churches are..read more..

MAKING FRIENDS IN THE LOCAL AND EX-PAT COMMUNITY

The norm for most ex-pats is to gravitate to other ex-pats. If you are in a provincial area there are usually less ex-pats, but you’ll probably get to know very quickly the few that are there. In the larger communities, the ex-pats often have clubs, traditional weekly or even bi-weekly lunches, and sometimes break down their socialization according to nationality. In the several communities that I have lived in, there has been everything from French clubs to ex-pat women’s clubs, to military Veterans clubs, and others. Because of the American military’s presence until the mid 1990’s, there are still VFW posts and American Legion posts in every major city. In Manila, there is even an Elk’s Club! Many ex-pats decide they want to get involved in projects to help the community and that is normally the common bond with other ex-pats. Also, there is everything from bridge clubs to golfing..read more..

THIRD WORLD CHAOS AND WHY WE LOVE IT

There are a lot of trade-offs in the third world when it comes to third world chaos that the author describes as freedom. If you have never been to the Philippines, the drivers can be insane. Because of there is little law enforcement in many areas, the law of the jungle does exist. To describe this, you would have to see the way that folks drive here which is absurd, but there is rhyme and reason to their driving habits, and it is just a part of the learning curve. When driving and you are trying to change lanes or make a turn in traffic you will have to take a directive which is usually by using hand signals. Since there is so much third world craziness in the Philippines, it may take some time to adjust. Other examples of chaos are people throwing their trash on the street, smoking..read more..

Steve & Eve Go to Laoag!

Steve and Eve, a delightful couple from the United Kingdom, decided to leave their home in the land of misty moors, cricket pitches, and fish & chip shops and head to the tropical environs of Laoag, Ilocos Norte in the Philippines to make it their retirement home. They made the move to the Philippines a little over a year ago, and I had the pleasure of catching up with them just recently to find out how it has all been going.   Steve hails from foggy, soggy England, where Eve, a Filipina originally from Laoag, went to carry out her career as a nurse. They met and married, and then raised a family. Their children, now grown, jumped the coop and when the couple found themselves emptily nesting, thoughts turned to relocating to the Philippines where the climate was more hospitable and the cost of living significantly lower than in..read more..

Gulliver’s Travels From San Francisco to Manila

We were in Makati for the day, in from the Great Republic of Alabang, and my husband turned to me and said, “I’m inviting you to lunch at the best prime rib place in town.”   Okay then.   “It’s DELICIOUS, and I guarantee you we will be one of only two or three tables there.”   Uh oh.   We are both Makati-bred, and as far as I knew, the only really good prime rib in town since, well, forever, was at the Prince Albert Rotisserie at the Intercontinental Hotel.   “You’re going to LOVE this place!” he tells me as we pull off Makati Ave. into the driveway of a Chinese discount hotel on the seedy side of the street.     We went through the hotel’s front door and headed to the elevator. Up. Stop. Get off the elevator…and get on a different elevator. Apparently the first..read more..

Palliative Care in the Home

A Filipino Experience On the heels of last week’s Bruce’s Blog, about caring for a loved one in the home, we publish this week an excerpt from Bruce’s book, The Freedom Handbook for Living & Retiring in the Philippines, written by the adult child of a terminally ill parent who nursed her while living at home in Manila.  The event occurred several years ago, but the story and the advice are still totally applicable: Margie’s Experience Caring for a Parent When we first got the diagnosis that Mom, in her eighties and very active, had colon cancer it was not only a shock, but we also had the hope and expectation that she would get better. We had hoped that she would be able to go through chemotherapy and radiation, which would bring her into remission, or perhaps even a total cure. Sadly this was not to be, and instead..read more..

CARING FOR YOUR LOVED ONE IN YOUR ISLAND HOME

The Philippines offers an affordable, compassionate, and caring alternative to an assisted living facility in the First World.  A fact of life that we all eventually have to face is that at some point, we will have to care for a parent, a spouse, or a loved one who is in need of assistance, be it physical, emotional, or both. The need can be temporary, it can be permanent, or it can be finite, but as sure as dealing with death and taxes, we will one day have to deal with assisting someone we love. In the First World, the usual course for care would be moving your loved one into an assisted living facility or nursing home. The option of being able to live in your own home, among your own family, and be capably cared for is not usually a feasible one in a First World setting. In..read more..

How The Amenities in the Philippines Have Changed So Radically Over the Years

I’ve lived in the Philippines for a long time.  In the old days, amenities such as the variety and quality of goods you could find in the grocery store, clothes that fit you, a nice restaurant to eat in, books to read, movies to watch, were pretty limited.  Manila had the best selection of amenities available, and as you went out into the provincial cities the amenities became less and less amenable.  I remember in those days every trip home to the US meant a few suitcases full of goods of every kind that my family and I would bring back to the Philippines since there was really not much available here. Now, every time I go out the door it seems like a new business offering some sort of new product or service has opened! The major evolution in the quality and variety of amenities here in the Philippines– and..read more..

Lee Blumenthal from the Big Apple

Native New Yorker Lee Blumenthal grew up in the hustle and bustle of New York City. He loved the quick pace of life, the verve and the vigor of his surroundings… he even loved the cold weather in winter! Like many a nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn, Lee went into “Jewish Engineering”, the rag trade, and a career manufacturing ladies garments—mostly dresses and blouses. For years he did this, and for years he loved it and did well at it. Eventually, as does everyone who is in the garment business, Lee came to Asia to try and source out a cheaper source of quality goods, and he wound up in Hong Kong. “I thought I would LOVE Hong Kong, because it’s so similar to New York! The fast pace of life, the highly urban setting, the “get up and go”, the work ethic, discipline, and devotion to business…but I hated..read more..

Lifeline Ambulance Rescue Philippines A Very Reassuring Prospect

I interviewed Michael Deakin, the managing director and the dynamic driving force behind Lifeline Ambulance Rescue Philippines, and I have to say that the man is impressive. This product of a Filipino-British upbringing is as passionate about his mission as he is well-versed and well-informed about his business. Michael has transposed two of the primary philosophies from his background in the hotel, restaurant, and hospitality industry onto the ambulance & rescue company he runs. The first is, “We serve you first, in the expectation of payment later”, and the second, “What we serve you is a quality product.” “Our policy is to never refuse a call, no matter what.” Michael tells me during our interview. Since 1995, Lifeline has been instrumental in saving over 86,000 lives. In 2013 alone Lifeline was instrumental in saving the lives of 9,865 people. Michael measures Lifeline’s success in lives saved rather than in money..read more..

Opening a Retirement Business in the Philippines

Whether or not you are married to a Filipino can impact on your approach to opening a retirement business in the Philippines. If your spouse is Filipino, opening up a business is easier; if you are single or not married to a Filipino, opening a business can be a bit more challenging, but it is still quite do-able nonetheless… Popular types of retirement businesses among foreign baby boomers who retire to the Philippines are usually a retail business or an exporting business. “Export” nowadays has become an explosion in the outsourcing industry, which ranges from call centres to businesses as diverse as medical transcription, web development, or even teaching English online. Essentially, an “export business” covers anything that can be outsourced from a foreign country. The Philippines is now the number one country in Asia when it comes to call center seats, so this type of export business is definitely..read more..

“ More and more folks are retiring at an earlier age, while they are still healthy enough to enjoy their lives. The problem is, in the First World, even a couple in their late fifties that have a $500,000 investment portfolio, which includes their home equity and other investments, won’t have enough retirement income to take advantage of their hard-won freedom. ”

The FREEDOM HANDBOOK
By Bruce Silverman
http://funphilippinesretirement.com
“ELRAP is a friendly website! On our pages please--no vulgarity, and no politics or religion discussed!”